Labor Conditions Are Awful at Chicken Plants, According to Report

A new multimedia report from Oxfam America highlights the harsh conditions endured by laborers at chicken processing facilities in the US. While workers reportedly processed roughly 14,000 chickens in a workday, they were paid an average of $11 an hour, and suffered exceptionally high rates of injury due to the repetitive and dangerous nature of the work.

Drinking Water: Extreme Weather Events Threaten Quality, Says Report

The greatest risks to water quality come from cumulative impacts of extreme weather events that happen sequentially, like a drought followed by a wildfire followed by a flood, says joint Australian-US study. As climate change likely increases the frequency of extreme weather events, resilience must be built into the management of watersheds and water treatment systems for recovery to happen. [Sunday Morning Herald]

Report: Society's Water Safety Net Is Fraying

A new National Research Council report examines possible "tipping points" that might occur if the rate of groundwater pumping rapidly increases. As surface water-scarce regions get drier amidst climate change, early warning water and drought monitoring systems could be necessary to protect precious resources. [Circle of Blue]

Will This Maryland Bill Get Big Chicken to Clean up its Act?

Maryland's Eastern Shore is one of the most concentrated areas for industrial chicken farming in the US. As a result, over 200,000 tons of excess manure seeps into nearby waterways every year, and from there it washes into the nearby Chesapeake Bay. To combat the pollution problem, environmental groups and Maryland lawmakers are working with together to pass legislation that would hold poultry companies responsible for the manure they produce. The law - if passed - would be the first of its kind in the nation. [Civil Eats]

When a Chicken Farm Moves Next Door, Odor May Not be the Only Problem

Industrial chicken farms make terrible neighbors. These factory farms can produce hundreds of tons of waste annually, generating hazardous air pollution, contaminating ground and surface waters, and, of course, emitting horrible odors. But unlike other industrial production facilities, factory chicken farms are subject to very few environmental regulations. [NPR]

Report Warns That Plastics Will Soon Outweigh Fish in World's Oceans

According to a study by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation and the World Economic Forum, if the world's use and disposal of plastics continues at current levels, the weight of all plastics in the planet's oceans will exceed the weight of all fish by 2050. The report recommends reducing production of single-use plastics (particularly plastic packaging), developing effective after-use markets for plastics and dramatically reducing leakage of plastics into natural systems. [Common Dreams]

Farms Using Oilfield Wastewater Under Review for Food Safety

Thirsty California farmers keen to irrigate are using oilfield wastewater to make ends meet, and a new state expert panel has started investigating the safety of the water's chemical makeup on food crops. For decades farmers have used produced water from oil drilling for irrigation, but no serious assessment has been done to identify potential long-term health risks. [KQED]

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